Researchers in Canada have investigated how different types of imaging test could help to improve treatment for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
COPD is currently mostly diagnosed through a lung function test called spirometry. This involves taking a deep breath and blowing into a machine which measures the amount of air in your lungs and how fast you can breathe out. However, this method does not give much information on symptoms, which can vary from person to person, and how much physical activity someone may be capable of.
The study, published in the journal Radiology, involved using two common imaging tests, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT). A group of 116 people with COPD underwent these tests alongside the current methods widely used to diagnose the condition.
The researchers found that, among people with mild-to-moderate COPD whose spirometry test results were slightly abnormal, the MRI test was useful in showing their level of exercise capacity.
They also noted that both CT and MRI measurements were helpful in terms of explaining a person’s symptoms.
Based on these findings, the researchers recommend that healthcare professionals consider using imaging tests for further investigation among people with COPD whose symptoms and exercise limits seem more severe than the results of a spirometry test would suggest.
They also plan on researching whether lung imaging could be used to help tailor treatment for other lung conditions, including asthma and cystic fibrosis.
Learn about the factors that can cause lung disease and the ways to reduce your contact with them.
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